Pauloross90
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Hey guys, Im debating wither or not it is wise to take a year out after completing a PGCE and before starting an induction NQT year? Ive read many articles that believe its impossible to get a job or compete for one when your out of the 'loop'. Im 21 years old and about to start a PGCE course, I have always dreamed about taking a few years out to OZ to work & travel and id like to do this after my PGCE year.

Im being forced into starting a PGCE this September due to the tuition fee hike the following academic year, otherwise I would be taking this break now after graduation.

Any help, tips or advice would be appreciated. I would feel at unease studying so hard for a PGCE knowing that it would become 'worthless' the following year if I were to take a break from education. :confused:
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JupiterSunshine
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Throughout your PGCE year you'll probably hear people advising against it but I'm going to do just that this year. I will complete my PGCE at the end of June and I'm going travelling a year. Employers won't hold it against you especially these days as many people don't manage to secure an NQT position straight away due to a jobs shortage in some subjects/areas of the UK. Are you doing your PGCE in the UK or in Northern Ireland?

Also there is no time limit to complete your NQT- there used to be a 5 year time period in which you had to complete it but not now. In fact, some people complete part of it in one school and complete it in another school.

Sorry if I rambled a bit!!
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Pauloross90
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You didn't ramble, much appreciated. I do now understand there is no time limit to complete the NQT, which is great. Do you think that by doing our PGCE now and taking time out straight after makes our PGCE less valuable though?

Id like to think that once you have the qualification it stays with you for life and you can always be a teacher? But it seems like this is not quite the case and you could have a very hard time getting into teaching if you take time out?

Im from Northern Ireland but doing my PGCE in England. How about yourself?
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oxymoronic
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The fees for 2012 haven't been set yet and from everything I've been reading recently, I'm not sure whether they will actually be £9000 like the undergraduate fees. It will take a lot of persuasion from the government to get people into teacher training if they've got to pay £9000 for fees on top of only being entitled to a loan of £3/4000 meaning they've got to use savings etc to pay for travel/rent/life during the year as they can not work part time. This is why the bursary used to exist and I think in the 2011 academic year trainee teachers will have a lot of finance issues that they haven't had this year as all of them are at least £4000 down in their bank balances than trainee teachers this year. Add the hit of an additional £6000 just to train and I think a lot of people just won't be able to afford it and the government are very aware of this, especially given postgraduate teachers already have a substantial amount of undergraduate debt.

In your PGCE the focus is on getting through it and into the NQT year. This is what drives you, especially near the end as you know it will all be worth it in September when you're teaching your own class. Having spoken to number of head teachers and my tutors at uni about this (I was considering doing a Masters in education first then my NQT year) they've all said to me that an NQT who hadn't looked straight for a job after finishing their NQT year would be looked on questionably in the application process. Obviously some teachers don't get a job straight away but schools want to see people who are still topping up their experience whilst getting a permanent job with supply/TAing/volunteering etc. They don't want someone who did their PGCE then ran away for a year or two... as one, I think on a personal level you'd lose a lot of the teaching momentum you'd built up over the year and would find it difficult in interviews to get a position when you're fighting against people who are current PGCEers. The PGCE is something that you really have to want NOW at this stage in your life. I know of 2 people on my course who started it with this vague idea they'd get it out of the way now and then go off travelling for a bit afterwards before doing their NQT year. They've both dropped out due to failing placements, not handing in work and generally not performing as it was clear that they weren't as committed to the rest of us as they had no real inclination of starting to teach any time soon.

If you're not sure about teaching this year, I'd say to you don't do it. Take time out to travel and do what you want first, then come back and see what your options are then. You could look at doing the GTP or Teach First for example, where you get paid a decent wage whilst you're teaching and it could be in 2-3 years time that teacher training has changed significantly anyway given the current ideas are to get rid of the university aspect and move it into schools. Whether this happens is another matter. For NQT jobs, applications start as early as January and can take months. I started applying in early February. Its now mid June and I still do not have a job for September. If you did your PGCE then went off travelling with the idea that you'd do your NQT after your gap year then you'd need to be back in the UK by February sort of time to get back into the teacher mind set, do some volunteering in schools and start focusing on getting a job which really only gives you 7 months away.

You're better off seeing ITT year + NQT year as one entity, as this is what it is in reality. The ITT year is just a training process for the training process, which is your NQT year. It certainly doesn't get easier in the NQT year from what I've been told and having a year out of the teaching mindset will just make it even harder. Also,all of the jobs chat and excitement is part of the PGCE and its been great talking to my friends about interviews/jobs as all of this makes it feel like the long nights and the stress of the PGCE are worth it as people are getting employment from it. If you're not part of those discussions as you're off travelling, I think you'll also feel incredibly out of the "teacher chat" loop in the second part of the course which from the experiences of the people I mentioned who did end up dropping out due to not really being focused on being a teacher now, just seems incredibly isolating.
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Pauloross90
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
The fees for 2012 haven't been set yet and from everything I've been reading recently, I'm not sure whether they will actually be £9000 like the undergraduate fees. It will take a lot of persuasion from the government to get people into teacher training if they've got to pay £9000 for fees on top of only being entitled to a loan of £3/4000 meaning they've got to use savings etc to pay for travel/rent/life during the year as they can not work part time. This is why the bursary used to exist and I think in the 2011 academic year trainee teachers will have a lot of finance issues that they haven't had this year as all of them are at least £4000 down in their bank balances than trainee teachers this year. Add the hit of an additional £6000 just to train and I think a lot of people just won't be able to afford it and the government are very aware of this, especially given postgraduate teachers already have a substantial amount of undergraduate debt.

In your PGCE the focus is on getting through it and into the NQT year. This is what drives you, especially near the end as you know it will all be worth it in September when you're teaching your own class. Having spoken to number of head teachers and my tutors at uni about this (I was considering doing a Masters in education first then my NQT year) they've all said to me that an NQT who hadn't looked straight for a job after finishing their NQT year would be looked on questionably in the application process. Obviously some teachers don't get a job straight away but schools want to see people who are still topping up their experience whilst getting a permanent job with supply/TAing/volunteering etc. They don't want someone who did their PGCE then ran away for a year or two... as one, I think on a personal level you'd lose a lot of the teaching momentum you'd built up over the year and would find it difficult in interviews to get a position when you're fighting against people who are current PGCEers. The PGCE is something that you really have to want NOW at this stage in your life. I know of 2 people on my course who started it with this vague idea they'd get it out of the way now and then go off travelling for a bit afterwards before doing their NQT year. They've both dropped out due to failing placements, not handing in work and generally not performing as it was clear that they weren't as committed to the rest of us as they had no real inclination of starting to teach any time soon.

If you're not sure about teaching this year, I'd say to you don't do it. Take time out to travel and do what you want first, then come back and see what your options are then. You could look at doing the GTP or Teach First for example, where you get paid a decent wage whilst you're teaching and it could be in 2-3 years time that teacher training has changed significantly anyway given the current ideas are to get rid of the university aspect and move it into schools. Whether this happens is another matter. For NQT jobs, applications start as early as January and can take months. I started applying in early February. Its now mid June and I still do not have a job for September. If you did your PGCE then went off travelling with the idea that you'd do your NQT after your gap year then you'd need to be back in the UK by February sort of time to get back into the teacher mind set, do some volunteering in schools and start focusing on getting a job which really only gives you 7 months away.

You're better off seeing ITT year + NQT year as one entity, as this is what it is in reality. The ITT year is just a training process for the training process, which is your NQT year. It certainly doesn't get easier in the NQT year from what I've been told and having a year out of the teaching mindset will just make it even harder. Also,all of the jobs chat and excitement is part of the PGCE and its been great talking to my friends about interviews/jobs as all of this makes it feel like the long nights and the stress of the PGCE are worth it as people are getting employment from it. If you're not part of those discussions as you're off travelling, I think you'll also feel incredibly out of the "teacher chat" loop in the second part of the course which from the experiences of the people I mentioned who did end up dropping out due to not really being focused on being a teacher now, just seems incredibly isolating.

Thanks for that constructive reply, much appreciated. Ive been accepted to start the course in September and it would seem such a waste to decline the offer in todays climate. Especially if the system/government were to introduce £9k fee's or get rid of the PGCE in the following academic year. I am ready for teaching and I want to teach, but I dont want to be tied down to the job just yet.

How would the following sound:

- Camp America this summer
- Complete PGCE from September
- Camp America next summer
- Take 1 year out
- Do supply work for a minimum of 6 months
- Apply for NQT

Would the supply work year get me the experience needed to regain confidence in employers taking me on as an NQT later? Maybe I could get a NQT year out of a supply school?

I do have a first class honors degree in my subject, would this stand a helping hand in any way when coming to apply?

Perhaps the job situation may be slightly better come September 2013 or September 2014 as less graduates are coming out of university due to the tuition fee increase?
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Pauloross90
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Ive just been looking at the TEFL site for the UK (http://www.uk-tefl.com/), it does look very impressive to be honest. £200 for the course and you get a TEFL certificate in the post after the two day course. Then they can help you find paid placements in TEFL anywhere in the world after completion.

- Camp America this summer
- PGCE September 2011
- Two years out to include TEFL
- Supply work

Surely having done two summers at Camp America, having a first class degree, having a PGCE, doing TEFL and having had experience doing supply work I am bound to stand at least some chance in gaining a NQT position?

I know I think about it too much, but its only natural when you are set to invest a lot of money, time and effort into something like the PGCE in September. You want to know where it will get you naturally.
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by Pauloross90)
Surely having done two summers at Camp America, having a first class degree, having a PGCE, doing TEFL and having had experience doing supply work I am bound to stand at least some chance in gaining a NQT position?
I've had 2 years of doing CA, I have a PGCE and I have an actual TEFL qualification (as in not the crap that you'd pay that company you've given above to give you as isn't worth the paper its written on - look for other posts by me in this forum) plus extensive EFL teaching experience before the PGCE. Whilst I don't have a first in my degree, I have a high 2:i from a good university (Edinburgh) plus As at A level and As/A*s at GCSE. In terms of the PGCE, I have amazing feedback from my two schools and have been given outstanding as my final grading before I enter my NQT year. I still don't have a job for September - its hard and I'm looking in an area of the country where there actually are jobs. When you apply for jobs, schools literally are looking at your performance as a teacher teaching their children. They do not really care about all of the other things you've done in life - I've barely mentioned it in interviews because its so focused on you, in a UK classroom, as a primary/secondary teacher.

If you're thinking about CA after you've finished your PGCE, it won't happen. You're doing the PGCE until mid July sort of time (I finish on 11th July) and for camp, your latest availability dates need to be some time in June. By that stage in July my camp was in full swing.

If you start your NQT year on supply, you've only got 16 months in which to finish it. You can start your NQT year whenever, but once you've started on supply, you need to get it finished. I also think you'd struggle having been out of the classroom for so long trying it out on the supply run as an NQT because it won't be like having your own class. I'm terrified of ending up doing supply from September because it really isn't how I want to enter teaching. I honestly think you'll struggle to take 2 years out after your NQT year and then just be able to get a job - the curriculum will have changed no end by then and there will have been loads of changes generally within education that you won't be on top on if you've been wherever in the world for a few years.

As I said, with regards to the TEFL course, look for other posts by me in this forum. Please do not throw your money at a course that gives you no actual qualification, training or recognition anywhere. Their courses last 2/3 days and you can become an "advanced" teacher with an extra day or so. If a secondary languages teacher were teaching students at A level with only 5 days of training to their name, you'd question it. Learning to teach English as a Foreign Language is no different.

I know I sound really negative and I'm really sorry. I had similar ideas to you before starting the PGCE - I wanted to carry on travelling and it seemed like a good idea to get the PGCE out of the way then fall back on it in a few years, but since I've been in the system I've realised that isn't going to happen and I've got very very into the whole teaching thing. I love it. I then considered doing my Masters before my NQT year and was told straight out by my placement A head that it was a stupid idea and I'd struggle to get a job afterwards because schools want to see commitment to teaching in the early stages. If you can't get an NQT post straight off then fair enough and I know this is a struggle in some areas of the UK, particularly NI, but schools would still want to see that you were trying and I just don't think planning to have 2 years or so out after you've done your PGCE before you've even started it is the right approach.
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Pauloross90
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
I've had 2 years of doing CA, I have a PGCE and I have an actual TEFL qualification (as in not the crap that you'd pay that company you've given above to give you as isn't worth the paper its written on - look for other posts by me in this forum) plus extensive EFL teaching experience before the PGCE. Whilst I don't have a first in my degree, I have a high 2:i from a good university (Edinburgh) plus As at A level and As/A*s at GCSE. In terms of the PGCE, I have amazing feedback from my two schools and have been given outstanding as my final grading before I enter my NQT year. I still don't have a job for September - its hard and I'm looking in an area of the country where there actually are jobs. When you apply for jobs, schools literally are looking at your performance as a teacher teaching their children. They do not really care about all of the other things you've done in life - I've barely mentioned it in interviews because its so focused on you, in a UK classroom, as a primary/secondary teacher.

If you're thinking about CA after you've finished your PGCE, it won't happen. You're doing the PGCE until mid July sort of time (I finish on 11th July) and for camp, your latest availability dates need to be some time in June. By that stage in July my camp was in full swing.

If you start your NQT year on supply, you've only got 16 months in which to finish it. You can start your NQT year whenever, but once you've started on supply, you need to get it finished. I also think you'd struggle having been out of the classroom for so long trying it out on the supply run as an NQT because it won't be like having your own class. I'm terrified of ending up doing supply from September because it really isn't how I want to enter teaching. I honestly think you'll struggle to take 2 years out after your NQT year and then just be able to get a job - the curriculum will have changed no end by then and there will have been loads of changes generally within education that you won't be on top on if you've been wherever in the world for a few years.

As I said, with regards to the TEFL course, look for other posts by me in this forum. Please do not throw your money at a course that gives you no actual qualification, training or recognition anywhere. Their courses last 2/3 days and you can become an "advanced" teacher with an extra day or so. If a secondary languages teacher were teaching students at A level with only 5 days of training to their name, you'd question it. Learning to teach English as a Foreign Language is no different.

I know I sound really negative and I'm really sorry. I had similar ideas to you before starting the PGCE - I wanted to carry on travelling and it seemed like a good idea to get the PGCE out of the way then fall back on it in a few years, but since I've been in the system I've realised that isn't going to happen and I've got very very into the whole teaching thing. I love it. I then considered doing my Masters before my NQT year and was told straight out by my placement A head that it was a stupid idea and I'd struggle to get a job afterwards because schools want to see commitment to teaching in the early stages. If you can't get an NQT post straight off then fair enough and I know this is a struggle in some areas of the UK, particularly NI, but schools would still want to see that you were trying and I just don't think planning to have 2 years or so out after you've done your PGCE before you've even started it is the right approach.
By the end of this summer i'll have had 2 years of Camp America behind me also. How exactly did you go about in gaining a 'real' TEFL qualification then? Ive searched your posts but cant find much on it. Was it through a specific agency/company?

So with your experience you would only recommend a maximum of 1 year out after a PGCE? Surely a one year breather after 18 years of education is acceptable I would like to think? Taking a year out does not make you less worthy of the job, id like to think that it shows adventure, independence, commitment, organisation amounst anything else (especially if I can get some work with children within it). Im sure there are PGCE postgrads working in ASDA and Tesco right now, it surely could be a lot worse no?

If the job market at the moment is as hard for teachers as people are letting it on to be, then 50% of postgraduate PGCE students wont be in a NQT position the following academic year anyway? If I said in an interview that I had been applying for jobs after my PGCE how would they know anymore?
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Pauloross90
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Sorry for sounding like a right smug pain in the a*s, just sick of education and having the routine of having to be doing something between September to June. I want to experience life a little and live down under for a year, it shouldn't be considered such a crime after having been educated for 18/19 years. What sort of a country do we live in?
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starfired
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This is a pretty useless reply, but I'm in the same situation and my current plan is to do my PGCE starting in September then bugger off for a year and come back - purely for the same reason as you that I have my place (with bursery and only £3k fees) starting this year and I don't think it's sensible to turn that down and runaway now. I'd like to think that I could argue that by taking time out after my PGCE doesn't show I'm not committed, just that I wanted experience. To be fair, I think a lot of people will be in this situation purely because of the fear that fees could be going up next year.
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evantej
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(Original post by Pauloross90)
By the end of this summer i'll have had 2 years of Camp America behind me also. How exactly did you go about in gaining a 'real' TEFL qualification then? Ive searched your posts but cant find much on it. Was it through a specific agency/company?

So with your experience you would only recommend a maximum of 1 year out after a PGCE? Surely a one year breather after 18 years of education is acceptable I would like to think? Taking a year out does not make you less worthy of the job, id like to think that it shows adventure, independence, commitment, organisation amounst anything else (especially if I can get some work with children within it). Im sure there are PGCE postgrads working in ASDA and Tesco right now, it surely could be a lot worse no?

If the job market at the moment is as hard for teachers as people are letting it on to be, then 50% of postgraduate PGCE students wont be in a NQT position the following academic year anyway? If I said in an interview that I had been applying for jobs after my PGCE how would they know anymore?
With regards to TEFL, she means taking something like a CELTA programme; at the very minimum, it is a full-time month long qualification that will cost around £1000. It is generally seen as the most widely accepted entrance qualification.

With regards to teaching, she is not suggesting that what you want is unreasonable, but rather that teachers are just as 'stupid' as other employers. If they see a gap in your CV they will wonder why. If you lie and say you were applying for jobs when you really sunning it up somewhere, I am not quite sure how that would make your situation any better; solidarity might make you feel better (i.e. there are lots of PGCE students who do not secure a position), but it is not going make it any easier for you to get a job. In this sense, if you want a year off then take a year off. Do not compromise with any half-hearted attempts to teach English etc. if that is not what you want to do. Just tell the truth: you wanted a year off to recharge your batteries. It is far better to do that then struggle hopelessly through your NQT year.
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Pauloross90
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(Original post by evantej)
With regards to TEFL, she means taking something like a CELTA programme; at the very minimum, it is a full-time month long qualification that will cost around £1000. It is generally seen as the most widely accepted entrance qualification.

With regards to teaching, she is not suggesting that what you want is unreasonable, but rather that teachers are just as 'stupid' as other employers. If they see a gap in your CV they will wonder why. If you lie and say you were applying for jobs when you really sunning it up somewhere, I am not quite sure how that would make your situation any better; solidarity might make you feel better (i.e. there are lots of PGCE students who do not secure a position), but it is not going make it any easier for you to get a job. In this sense, if you want a year off then take a year off. Do not compromise with any half-hearted attempts to teach English etc. if that is not what you want to do. Just tell the truth: you wanted a year off to recharge your batteries. It is far better to do that then struggle hopelessly through your NQT year.
Thank you for the honest reply. I spent much time looking into the proper TEFL qualifications last night and researching and would definitely now look into gaining a CELTA or a UCLES sometime in the very near future. Wanting a year off to recharge your battery's in a bad economic climate after 19 years of education is not the end of the world. It cant be. I do believe that honesty gets you a lot of places in life, we are all only human. I'll get the PGCE out of the way now in September whilst still in an academic frame of mind, then worry about the rest after. I do want to teach, but I wouldn't be 100% satisfied in a job until I had taken a years break to recharge.
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modgepodge
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A friend of mine on the PGCE is going travelling after the course finishes for 6months plus - her fiance lives in Sri Lanka so she's going to stay with him for a bit and they're going travelling together. No one at the uni has warned her that this is a really bad idea. There are loads of teachers who CAN'T get a job for immediately after the course, so I don't see that a school would hold it against you that you didn't start teaching straight away. Maybe don't sell it as "I hate education and wanted a break before starting a career", say "I couldn't get a job for September so decided to take time out and go travelling". I don't know - but I can't imagine it's SUCH a bad thing as some poeple on here seem to think. Just my opinion.
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Mr M
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Hi Paul,

Taking a year out won't necessarily prevent you from securing an NQT job but it might affect your chances.

If I had to choose between similar applications from someone who is just about to finish their PGCE and someone who completed it a year ago and then went travelling, I would almost certainly go for the former. I would be concerned that you might lack enthusiasm (most people who complete their PGCEs cannot wait to get started on their NQT year) and I know how rusty even very experienced teachers get when they are out of the classroom for a few months. I think an inexperienced teacher needs to get stuck in immediately while everything is still fresh in his or her mind. Sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear.

Mr M
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gingerbreadman85
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The best analogy for the PGCE to NQT jump i can think of is learning to drive, passing your test (QTS) and then being asked to drive around central london during rush hour.

I canot imagine myself surviving NQT having taken a year out without teaching. Although i had tons of support, it was mind-blowingly hard work.

Have you thought about doing PGCE/NQT and THEN taking a year out when you have got that sorted. Depending on the subject you may also get a nice Golden Hello to take with you traveling. I have a coleague who is leaving after his second year teaching to travel, and i have no doubt he will get a job once he is ready to get back in the saddle (being a physicist helps some there though!).
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Pauloross90
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(Original post by gingerbreadman85)
The best analogy for the PGCE to NQT jump i can think of is learning to drive, passing your test (QTS) and then being asked to drive around central london during rush hour.

I canot imagine myself surviving NQT having taken a year out without teaching. Although i had tons of support, it was mind-blowingly hard work.

Have you thought about doing PGCE/NQT and THEN taking a year out when you have got that sorted. Depending on the subject you may also get a nice Golden Hello to take with you traveling. I have a coleague who is leaving after his second year teaching to travel, and i have no doubt he will get a job once he is ready to get back in the saddle (being a physicist helps some there though!).
Thanks for all of your comments, all have been taken on board. Many thanks guys.

In reply to the driving analogy, one other way to look at it would be from an angle of life experience gained from the year/two out. As a geography teacher I would be able to step into a classroom to teach about waterfalls, having been to one. As a geography teacher I would be able to teach about the grand canyon having sat on the edge of it. As a geography teacher I would be able to teach about sustainability and ecosystems having scuba'd the great barrier reef.

I definately believe my long term employability chances as a geography teacher can be boosted from an experience of taking time out and travelling the world. It cant be that bad can it? It does make sense to complete the PGCE & push to start and complete the NQT together, but by the end of the next academic year I really dont believe i'll be ready for it.

With tuition fee's going up, teaching grants abolished and university undergraduate numbers declining... perhaps the competition for teaching jobs in 2-3 years from
now will be all but gone?

However, I do know that if I were to take 2 years out after a PGCE, upon return I would need to push myself to get back into 'the loop' again before applying for NQT. TDA refresher courses, voluntary teaching placements, youth work... But it shouldnt be the end of the world if im prepared to do some work to get back into the swing of things?
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Mr M
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(Original post by Pauloross90)
But it shouldnt be the end of the world if im prepared to do some work to get back into the swing of things?
I get the feeling that even if one hundred Headteachers advised you this is probably not the best thing to do you would still say "Yeah but ..."
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mikeyjordan
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I was in a similar situation as you last year and having spent 6 months on the beach in Thailand I am now starting my NQT year in September. However, I did have a pretty extensive TEFL CV before I started my PGCE. I would recommend that if you were to take a gap year then you would need to do something that would make you more employable. Doing is a CELTA and teaching abroad is a good start. I would also look into volunteering to show you are a more well rounded citizen.
Another issue you should take into consideration is that if you are trying to get a job for Sept12 you will need to be somewhere not to far away from the UK. If you are in New Zealand then it would be pretty hard, and expensive, to come back for an interview. Look to Europe or North Africa. Spain is a good place to live and an easy language to learn. Hope that was useful.
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darlodave
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Why not teach abroad as a proper teacher? Why would you pay to do TEFL etc, when you could earn a lot more as a proper teacher, see the world AND get teaching experience?

Sure you arent going to be able to teach at the best schools, or command the highest salary, but you'l still get something decent, and better paying that TEFL, CELTA
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crystaldaio
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I had to break from my pgce due to personal circumstances just before my final placement. How easy do you think it will be to return and finish it off?
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With HE fairs postponed, would a virtual HE fair be useful?

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60.44%
No (36)
39.56%

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